This is me on my Buell 1125CR, which I owned from 2013 to 2016 (give or take).
I’ve always been fascinated by Buell motorcycles. I think it’s because they are just a bit different than the rest. You don’t see many of them riding around (less than 150,000 were made in total), so they are special!
The 1125 CR was (and still is) a beast. It’s got 146hp and because of the short wheelbase it’s nimble as heck. A true pleasure to ride. Also the 72°V-Twin engine by rotax, and belt drive is something you don’t see every day. But, although you still see them riding around, that’s all history. Two companies ago history to be exact.
Buell started out as a company formed by former HD employee Erik Buell. Soon after the start HD bought a substantial part of the company, essentially making it a HD subsidiary of sorts. Buell Motorcycles could be serviced by HD dealers and had the HD warranty.
Their early bikes were sports bikes built around the HD sportster engine. Quite some models rolled out of the American factory. Here are some of them:
The 1125 R (racer) and the CR (cafe racer, my bike in the picture above) were the first models that stepped away from the HD 45°air cooled V-Twin engine that Buell was known for until then, but unfortunately they were also the last models to role out from the factory before HD decided to stop producing Buells in 2009.
It wouldn’t take long to restart the company though. By late 2009 / early 2010 Erik Buell Racing (EBR) was born (the Buell brand name stayed with Harley Davidson), this time focusing on race bikes only. Later on they added street legal machines too. All of the models were based on the same 1125CR 72° V-Twin engine. But alas, in 2015 that company fell into receivership (bankruptcy more or less).
After the receivership, in 2016, Bill Melvin acquired the assets of Erik Buell Racing LLC for a reported $2 million. From 2018 EBR continued with very few limited capacity models, this time without Erik Buell himself.
Has Buell really been gone?
So now, in the last week, EBR announced that it acquired the Buell brand name back from Harley, consequently announcing that it will revive production and has some big plans with new models and even electric bikes. Here’s the official announcement from Buell itself. Honestly, I’m skeptical. At least the first part of this announcement is nothing new. In fact, if you so some digging on the internet, this is very similar to announcements they have been doing in 2018 and 2019 as well, with the slight difference being that they are now allowed to use the Buell name again. The part about the new models is new though, so who knows, maybe this time it’s really different. As a Buell fan I truly hope so!
I’m curious! You hate the brand or you are forgiving and you love it. I fall into the latter category and have been driving a Buell Ulysses for 8 years. Even my Buell repairman says he tells more people not to ride a Buell than he recommends. But back to the article, I like it and look forward to it even though I also have my doubts about the feasibility.